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The Power of Inclusive Mentoring

Mentoring for Inclusion

Create an inclusive culture with mentoring

We know from our experience that often people have a very specific view of what mentoring is and who it applies to – and that is that it is a formal, offline relationship formed behind closed doors. It’s often elitist and revolves around the concept of the “chosen one”.

It’s our mission at Mentorloop to challenge this outdated and exclusive approach and instead, position mentoring as something that is relevant for all that can play out in a number of different scenarios.

Traditionally mentoring has typically been hierarchical in nature – the older and wiser mentor guiding the younger mentee. While there are obvious learnings to be gained from our elders, if we limit ourselves to thinking this is the only type of mentor, we ultimately limit our opportunities to learn and we indirectly exclude some people from being able to participate.

The mentoring flywheel

From a recent survey of Mentorloop participants we found that when given the option, 70% of users identify as both a mentee and mentor. This is interesting for a number of different reasons.

Firstly, it’s about giving your participants choice and enabling mentoring to play out how it is intended – creating mutually beneficial relationships. For instance, while I may be at a mid-point in my career and I’m looking to understand how to engage senior stakeholders more effectively, I still have a wealth of knowledge that is relevant to someone slightly behind me. In fact, we always reflect at Mentorloop, that some of the most impactful mentors we’ve had are other founders just slightly ahead of us. It’s accessing a glimpse into the very real and soon to be future and you can’t put a price on this type of insight.

Playing the role of both the mentee and mentor ensures people are always looking to improve and challenge themselves. There are also a number of organisational benefits to encouraging your people to have a 2-way view of mentoring. It’s a very organic but tactical way to facilitate the transfer of technical and company knowledge within your business. It’s also a way to create a more inclusive workplace. People connecting with people based on a specific need or curiosity expands people’s internal networks and forces them to connect with people outside their comfort zone and remove any unconscious bias.

Mentoring helps me keep my mind sharp, broadens the scope of the problems that I experience, and keeps me connected to other people in my industry. In particular, I look forward to mentees one day mentoring me (as has happened many times)” – Mentorloop Mentor

It’s the mentoring fly-wheel and this approach to mentoring will be key in creating a culture of mentoring in your workplace.

Your People Want This

Over the last 6 months we’ve received an increasing amount of client enquiries driven by a reactive response to a recent employee engagement survey. What’s been super interesting is that this isn’t in response to viewing mentoring as a remedy to another problem (although it’s good for that too), it’s been driven by people simply asking for it. People want mentoring – especially your largest segment of employees with 66% of millennials seeking an employee mentor.

It’s no surprise really. They’ve grown up now and as they move into leadership positions, they are keen to build their networks and develop their management skills across a number of disciplines – and they are well aware that having a mentor is key to your future success.

But while millennials make up a significant segment of your workforce – mentoring is something that is relevant for all. In the age of self directed learning, people are waking up to the fact that if they aren’t developing themselves they are falling behind and if you as an employer don’t offer learning opportunities, they’ll depart and seek it elsewhere.

That’s why when our clients open up mentoring to all their people they are constantly surprised by just how hungry their people are for mentoring, with 80% of programs oversubscribed. Mentoring is not just something relevant for the select special few – it’s relevant for all your people.

Making mentoring mainstream

And that’s why at Mentorloop we see mentoring a little differently. We believe the right connection can change a life and we want to help organisations make that opportunity available to all your people, because inevitably everyone can benefit when we have an inclusive approach to mentoring.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you build an inclusive approach to mentoring at your organisation, please contact us to set up a free demo of the platform

Register for a Mentorloop demo with one of our mentoring experts.
Download our mentoring program proposal template to pave the way to C-team sign-off.

 

Heidi Holmes

Heidi is the Co-founder and COO of Mentorloop. She's passionate about all things mentoring, Kenny Rogers and Italian Greyhounds.

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